In 2006 I took a Road Trip from San Francisco to New Mexico and back over the course of a month, writing and taking photos all the way. Two years later I had a show of paintings based on those photographs. This is a series of posts of those paintings accompanied by the relevant diary entries.

SFMOMA, oil on board, 8 x 9 inches (approx.)

5. 30th April, 2006

A trip to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was a must though I wasn’t too blown away by it and I was very sorry to miss Land Artist Richard Long. I was probably stressing too much about driving at this point. I also had to buy camping supplies and was having no joy with that, not in my price range anyway.There is a definite negative slant to my writing-I was a bit depressed most likely, that being my default setting-except when I get into the details. That’s where I see I was getting a lot more from the trip than I thought I was. In hindsight its a nicer city than it was through my haze of anxiety. Also the main sights weren’t impacting, due I suppose to over exposure, but other things were. The diary entry for the museum is short but it’s on this day I put down some of my impressions of the city

Not loads to see (at SFMOMA) but some good stuff:a Rothko, a Pollock (not a great one), Joan Brown(In the Kitchen), A Rivera, a couple of Magrittes, Matisses and Picassos, a couple of Kahlos-never so interesting in the flesh. Just missed a Richard Long exhibition dammit, though he’s left his muddy mark on the wall!

It’s OK here, not too in your face…but its a city, with the same shops, same people, same tourists-same, same, same, my brain is tired from all the sameness. None of the conservative, middle class, tourist places made much impact on me. Marin County, Sausalito and Fishermans’ Wharf. Even the Golden Gate didn’t look so impressive. I liked the grid of hilly streets which make me expect to see Steve McQueen walking thoughtfully to his door and the cable car, which inexplicably brought me to tears. Taxes!on top of every advertised price…

…they brought me to tears in a different way. But what struck me most were the people, particularly the homeless but also the ordinary people going about their business….

The lack of “Californians” is striking. People here look more ordinary than I thought they would. Yesterday as I walked towards Columbus on Broadway, a skinny, blonde , junkie, in her 40s’,  or maybe younger, all made up, staggered away from her friends laughing, and turning to me she said…

“And where would you like to go, to die laughing?”

Chinese faces on the street, chinese children in the playground out the back of my building (too cute). A figure, sleeping, wrapped up in a blanket on the sidewalk on Powell. The scarred face and tattoos of the young man who sold me my phone. The nice taxi driver who took me home from the Mission District after a night with my friends, and who tried to charge me less than full price and then refused my tip. The music playing in the car was the soundtrack to the city. Sometimes the sound of a jazz saxophone would drift from somewhere, giving me a glimpse of Kerouac and Cassady and Ginsberg, fifty or sixty years previously. I bought a copy of Howl at City Lights Book store. Its an easy city, nice to visit, maybe boring to live in…

…ahhh, I’d say I was still a bit jetlagged…

Tomorrow I finally get on the road…


9 Replies to “ROAD TRIP : SFMOMA & THE CITY”

    1. Thanks Candace…I think on this trip I was really taken aback by how little the big sights impacted me..or at least how I couldn’t grasp them..I think its the same for everyone, the personal experiences stay with starts to show in the paintings too…ta for visiting and commenting 🙂


      1. Ah no I haven’t, but I think I may have referred to it. You have inspired me to relook at my journal that I wrote during that road trip. Maybe I will post it! We went a bit further on, we did Texas & Louisana too. Best holiday ever.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I want to go to Louisiana!I met a couple who were going that way when I got as far as New Mexico, I just didn’t have time…I just picked up a book of Louisiana short stories yesterday…would love to hear about it…I am enjoying looking through my diary, its giving me enjoyable flashbacks 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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